18 December 2003

WMD exercises planned - AU

WMD exercises planned:

By Patrick Walters

AUSTRALIAN security forces and diplomats will take part in five new exercises early next year aimed at intercepting weapons of mass destruction carried on sea, air and land.

In two days of talks just concluded in Washington, officials from 16 countries agreed on a series of exercises including an air interception scenario to be staged at a German airport.

Under the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative, participating countries are trying to improve their ability to interdict nuclear, biological and chemical weapons with particular focus on the threat posed by North Korea and Iran.

Of the five training scenarios agreed for 2004, Italy will host two, and the US, France, Germany and Poland one each, according to US officials.

The exercises will involve police and customs officials as well as military forces."

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